Illegal immigrants asked to leave country by Nov 1: Afghan nationals involved in terrorist attacks: Bugti
ISLAMABAD: Caretaker Interior Minister Sarfaraz Ahmed Bugti, on Tuesday, said that Afghan nationals were found involved in the recent terrorist attacks in the country including the terror attack in Peshawar mosque, Qila Saifullah, Zhob, and Hangu and this matter is being taken up with Afghan interim government by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“We were attacked from the Afghanistan side and Afghan nationals are involved in the terrorist attacks,” the minister said, while addressing a press conference, after the apex committee meeting on the National Action Plan (NAP).
The committee decided to evict illegal immigrants and set November 1 as the deadline for the illegal immigrants to leave the country; otherwise, action will be taken against them.
To a question about cross-border terrorism, he said that since January this year, 24 terrorist attacks occurred in the country, and Afghan nationals were found involved in 14 of these attacks. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is taking up the matter with the Afghan interim government, he said.
Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaar-ul-Haq presided over the apex committee meeting and the chief of army staff (COAS), federal ministers, chief ministers, and heads of all civil and military law enforcement agencies attended the meeting.
He said that the meeting discussed the matter related to illegal immigrants in the country. We have given November 1 as the deadline for illegal immigrants to leave the country and if they fail to leave the country by the fixed deadline then they will be deported, he said.
The minister said that Pakistan is the only country where people come without a passport or visa. As per the apex committee’s decision, the same deadline would apply for entry into Pakistan without a passport or visa. After November 1, no one would be allowed to enter Pakistan without a passport and visa, he said.
Bugti said that e-Tazkiras (electronic Afghan identity cards) would be accepted from October 10-31 and afterwards the abovementioned passport and visa policy would apply.
Following the fixed deadline, he said that an operation would be launched by a taskforce already created in the Interior Ministry, that would target illegal properties and businesses owned by illegal immigrants or that were being run with the facilitation of Pakistan.
Action will also be taken against Pakistanis who were found involved in the facilitation of business of illegal immigrants, he said.
He said that many immigrants have obtained Pakistani Computerized National Identity Cards (CNICs) through illegal means. He also revealed that some terrorists who were not Pakistani also obtained Pakistani CNICs.
He added that the taskforce would also initiate proceedings to launch a crack down on illegal identity cards and passports, since they were used for nefarious means.
The minister said that a universal access number (UAN) helpline number and a web portal were also being launched for people to come forward, whose names will not be disclosed, for providing information about illegal CNICs, illegal immigrants, and other illegal practices such as smuggling and hoarding.
The minister further said that the prerogative to use force is only with the state and no one else would be allowed to use force. No political armed group, any group or organisation is allowed in the country to use force and strict action will be taken against such organisations, he said, adding that the state will not allow anyone to interpret religion in its own way for their political gains.
“The rights of minorities and religious freedom are part of Islam and the constitution of Pakistan and the state will use full force according to law against those who violate it,” he said, adding that those involved in propaganda and in the campaign of disinformation will be dealt strictly under the cyber crime laws.
About the appointment of Lieutenant General Munir Afsar as the new chairman of the National Database and Regulatory Authority (NADRA), he said that the NADRA is a national security institution and data of every Pakistani is very important.
Keeping in view the importance of the NADRA, the cabinet has decided to appoint Lieutenant General Munir Afsar, who has vast experience in information technology, he said.
Copyright Business Recorder, 2023